SMALL TOWN. BIG SECRET.
An unforgettable debut that brings the darkness in an Australian country town vividly to life, as it slowly reveals its devastating secrets.
In the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends.
Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab’s dad hits him or how the sudden death of Ben’s next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.
Then a newcomer arrived in the Wimmera. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. Up close, the man’s shoulders were wide and the veins in his arms stuck out, blue and green. His hands were enormous, red and knotty. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab’s dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.
Twenty years later, Fab is still stuck in town, going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can’t ignore the past any more.
WIMMERA is the 2016 Winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger (UK).
I knew this book would haunt me from the beginning, I just did not comprehend how or why. Now I know!
The language (very strong – a male point of view, including that of an adolescent boy) was an issue for me in the beginning, but I fell into the story and still enjoyed the read. (If ‘enjoy’ can be used with the themes in this tale!!) The subject matter is dark but sometimes such matters must be discussed and fiction is a safe place to do that.
The Author handled the revelations of the two boys very well, leaving the reader to interpret the behaviours and actions without having to be too explicit.
Congratulations to this debut Australian author, Mark Brandi. This well-plotted tale lets the reader see how evil can be so pervasive and affect the lives of innocent children, but also how true friendship can alter your life forever.
If you like reading stories that will stay with you for days, put this onto you’re to be read list.
This review is also on Goodreads
Published by Hachette Australia